Abourezk: A presidential apology to Indians
"The Indian apology is part of a Senate resolution introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and is attached as an amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. The Senate is expected to take up debate on the act again Monday.

Without binding reform measures or the weight of a sitting president behind it, the apology not only lacks substance but also the chorus of support needed to truly make it the first step toward healing between Native people and the U.S. government.

But what if a sitting president were to support such an apology?

It's not likely President Bush, who opposes passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and recently proposed slashing funding to many Indian social programs in his annual budget, would ever support anything resembling a concession to Native people.

Of course Bush won't be inhabiting the White House much longer.

So what of the next president?

Only three viable presidential candidates remain in the race. All of them — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) — have voiced support for Native issues during their time in the Senate.

And while it's safe to assume the eventual Democratic nominee would support an apology to Native people, what about the Republican nominee? Certainly the relationship between conservatives and Native people has been a tempestuous one."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Next President Could Lift Hopes With Indian Apology (RezNet News 2/20)

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